, Muskogee, OK


July 11, 2013

Herbert H. Mathews

1934 - 2013

Herbert H. Mathews (“Herb”) passed away on July 7, 2013 at the age of 78 after a brief illness.

Herb was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma on August 8, 1934 to Ruth Johnson Mathews and Alexander (“Alec”) Mathews. He graduated from Muskogee Central High School in 1952. Herb married the love of his life, Johnnie Mae Hughes on October 22, 1955 and remained married for 47 years until her death in 2003. Herb began his career as a salesman for Coburn Optical Industries in 1955 and later worked in research and development. With the exception of a short period in the early 60’s he worked for Coburn Optical Industries for over 30 years. During his time with Coburn Optical Industries he traveled nationally to all fifty states and internationally to Asia, Europe and Australia. He later worked for Optical Works Corporation until he retired in 2003. Herb cherished the many relationships that he built through his years in the optical industry, especially the members of the Coburn family. Herb was an active member of the Bedouin Shrine, having served for many years in the legion of honor. He was a member of Scottish Rite and Masonic Lodge 430 of Muskogee. Herb was a long time member of the Boulevard Christian Church.  He was a gifted craftsman who enjoyed making furniture and all kinds of wood crafts for his family and friends.

Herb was preceded in death by his parents, wife and sisters Lillian Mathews Dunham and Dorothy Mathews Lawson, and great-grandson Ethan VanCleave.  He survived by his daughter Terry Mathews VanCleave and husband James VanCleave of Blanchard, Oklahoma; son, Mark Allen Mathews and wife Susan Mathews of Houston, Texas; grandchildren, Tena VanCleave of Joplin, Missouri, Tera VanCleave of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Tiffany VanCleave Fairchild and husband Casey Fairchild of Mustang, Oklahoma, and Katherine Mathews, Lauren Mathews, and Allison Mathews of Houston, Texas; great-grandchildren Olivia Fairchild and Andrew Fairchild; sisters Bettie Mathews Treadway and husband Ken Treadway, Edna Mathews Anthony, and brother, Rainey Lew Mathews of Poteau, Oklahoma.

Funeral services will be 10:00 a.m. Saturday, July 13, 2013 at Boulevard Christian Church with Mr. James McCracken officiating.  Entombment will follow in Memorial Park Cemetery Mausoleum. Pallbearers will be Ernie Alverson, Casey Fairchild, Vince Felts, Steve Iversen, Dirk Sams and James Tye.

Friends, in lieu of flowers, may wish to remember Herb by making memorials to the Bedouin Shrine Transportation Fund, P.O. Box 1667, Muskogee, OK 74402.

Funeral service arrangements are under the direction of Foster-Petering Funeral Home.

Condolences to the family may be made at

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